GM Thought of the Week: It’s Official, Black Friday is Here
It’s official, Black Friday is now upon us after Smyths decided to launch their Black Friday deals this week. Whether this is a welcome move however remains to be seen.
There is little doubt that whilst the UK’s enthusiasm for Black Friday does not match that of our US counterparts, it has had a sizeable impact on UK toy retail. Toy sales have inevitably become later year-on-year, and at lower margin, as savvy consumers wait and see what deals are available before committing to high ticket purchases. NPD data certainly supports this, with sales value tracking 10% behind 2017 to the end of September (although this is heavily impacted by the loss of TRU).
By launching their event early, Smyths have not only stolen a march on their competitors, but will also look to generate demand for toy sales earlier than consumers had perhaps prepared for. They may also be conscious of the fact that the UK’s appetite for Black Friday is not as voracious as one might believe. YouGov repot that during Black Friday 2017 just 18% of the population stated that they had bought something for themselves, whilst 17% had bought something as a gift. These figures stood at 20% and 19% respectively in 2016.
In what has been a challenging year for toy retail, moves to stimulate additional sales will be well received (so long as margins are not compromised too heavily). Now to wait (probably not that long) and see how other specialists and other retailers in this market respond.